American Farmstead Cheese: The Complete Guide to Making and Selling Artisan Cheeses

American Farmstead Cheese: The Complete Guide to Making and Selling Artisan Cheeses

4.5 2
by Paul Kindstedt, Vermont Cheese Council, Paul Kindsedt
     
 

This comprehensive guide to farmstead cheese explains the diversity of cheeses in terms of historical animal husbandry, pastures, climate, preservation, and transport-all of which still contribute to the uniqueness of farm cheeses today.

Discover the composition of milk (and its seasonal variations), starter cultures, and the chemistry of cheese. The book

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Overview

This comprehensive guide to farmstead cheese explains the diversity of cheeses in terms of historical animal husbandry, pastures, climate, preservation, and transport-all of which still contribute to the uniqueness of farm cheeses today.

Discover the composition of milk (and its seasonal variations), starter cultures, and the chemistry of cheese. The book includes:

  • A fully illustrated guide to basic cheesemaking
  • Discussions on the effects of calcium, pH, salt, and moisture on the process
  • Ways to ensure safety and quality through sampling and risk reduction
  • Methods for analyzing the resulting composition

You will meet artisan cheesemaker Peter Dixon, who will remind you of the creative spirit of nature as he shares his own process for cheesemaking. Alison Hooper, cofounder of Vermont Butter & Cheese Company, shares her experience-both the mistakes and the successes-to guide you in your own business adventure with cheese. David and Cindy Major, owners of Vermont Shepherd, a sheep dairy and cheese business, tell the story of their farm and business from rocky beginning to successful end.

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Editorial Reviews

Mark Knoblauch

Booklist-

Not so very long ago the term "American cheese" meant a bland product good for little except melting atop a hamburger patty. Thanks to the efforts of a host of cheese makers around the country, American cheese has begun developing a range of tastes and textures to rival the great cheeses of Europe. To guide those who wish to participate in this burgeoning industry, Kindstedt has developed a manual that covers in detail the scientific and technical bases for turning milk into cheese, describing each of the eight steps of the process. Even the nonprofessional can profit from Kindstedt's discussion of the chemical principles that underlie cheese making, the variations in the final product that are affected by temperature, acidity, salt, and coagulating media. Kinstedt pays particular heed to the importance of sanitation. Other contributors address the art that creates flavor from the science and commercial principles that sustain the cheesemaker. Libraries in dairying communities will find this comprehensive book especially useful, and its extensive bibliographic data will aid students.

From the Publisher

"An In-depth, 'User Friendly' Guide to Cheesemaking," Review from Midwest Book Review-

Knowledgeably written by Paul Kindstedt (a professor of the department of Nutrition and Food Sciences of the University of Vermont) in conjunction with The Vermont Cheese Council (a nonprofit organization that supports Vermont cheesemakers), American Farmstead Cheese: The Complete Guide To Making and Selling Artisan Cheeses is an in-depth, "user friendly" guide to cheesemaking, from means of ensuring safety and quality in one's cheese and analyzing cheese composition, to marketing plans and business strategies of successful commercial cheesemakers. American Farmstead Cheese does cover some technical scientific concepts, particularly when discussing the science of cheese creation, but the language strives to be as accessible as possible to the lay reader and an index allows for quick and easy reference. Black-and-white photographs illustrate this in-depth resource, which is an absolute "must-have" for anyone involved in or contemplating the cheesemaking business, and a delightful addition to the libraries of cheese connoisseurs.

"For those who want to quit their boring jobs and do something that will make their lives meaningful, here's the book. Paul Kindstedt must be considered an American treasure. Of all the books in my possession, this one is now the most important."--Steven Jenkins, maitre-fromager, Fairway Markets

"This is a must have for anyone who is a cheesemaker, cheesemonger, or simply a cheese lover. Encompassing everything from the finer points of artisanal affinage to the historical significance of cheese in society, this book has it all. Mr. Kindstedt certainly knows his curd!"--Terrance Brennan, The Artisanal Group

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781931498777
Publisher:
Chelsea Green Publishing
Publication date:
05/30/2005
Pages:
300
Sales rank:
604,491
Product dimensions:
7.28(w) x 9.92(h) x 0.82(d)

Read an Excerpt

Excerpt from Chapter 10: The Art of Cheesemaking by Peter Dixon

For an artisanal business to succeed, the product must be unique and consistently well made, and there must be a market for it. Therefore, artisan cheesemakers adhere to the traditional methods of their craft to bring forth the nuances in flavor that are generated through the intimate connection with the seasons and the environment. The finest cheese may vary, but it should vary within a certain standard if it is to be commercially marketable. Some artisan cheesemakers benefit from following traditions that produce these results, but most of us are relatively new at the game. For the less experienced cheesemakers, then, traditional methods should be supported by scientific principles to the extent necessary to make consistently high-quality cheese. It is important to note that many of the traditional artisan cheesemakers have strong support from the scientific community in their distinctive agricultural regions. The melding of craft and science is used to strengthen the activity on which their livelihood is based.

A cheese such as Cheddar, which was once exclusively made by artisan cheesemakers in Great Britain, has largely turned into the product of an industrial process, though the craft of making Cheddar is still alive. Wheels of Cheddar sealed in cloth bandages, which represent the fruit of an artisan cheesemaker's labor, are still being made. In reading about the history of cheesemaking, we learns that 150 years ago the farm-made Cheddars were more variable in quality because cheesemakers differed in attitude and aptitude--that is, some were better at their craft than others. This could be attributed to many factors, most notably attention to cleanliness during milking and cheesemaking; construction of dairies, creameries, and cheese stores; and systems of cheesemaking. In the case of Cheddar, quality was improved by using methods based on scientific principles--such as the cheddaring process, hygiene, and temperature control during making and aging--that were developed by Joseph Harding in England from the 1850s onward.

Joseph Harding dedicated many years to improving the standard of quality for British cheese. He used scientific principles to develop methods for making cheese that did away with some of the guesswork and exorcised the mysticism of certain traditional methods that produced haphazard results. In this way he was able to demonstrate that some "traditional" practices led to poor quality and also showed how to make significant and consistent improvements by following new practices based on an understanding of dairy science. At first cheesemakers were skeptical of his methods, but the string of blue ribbons collected by his family for their Cheddar cheeses proved him the wiser, and several of his daughters went on to consult and work for other cheese businesses in Great Britain and the United States (Cheke, 1959).

This is the appropriate way for artisan cheesemakers to use science. It is now common practice to integrate scientific principles with traditional cheesemaking practices to better understand how cheese of the highest quality standard is made. This, in turn, enables dairying regions to maintain and develop viable economic enterprises that are centered on artisanal cheesemaking. The key is to produce cheese with a high level of quality, on which a reputation can be built, thereby ensuring marketability over the long term. As a cheesemaker myself--I make 20,000 pounds/9,000 kg of cheese a year for sale throughout New England--I need an approach that will reduce variability and build a reputation for quality. Therefore, I rely on science to enhance the art of cheesemaking. I use standardized rennet and pure starter cultures made in laboratories, and I test acidity regularly during the cheesemaking process. The rest of what I do is based on my knowledge of the craft, which has been built up over only 20 years.

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